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Boquete or Bocas?

mn
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38 posts
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Boquete or Bocas?

OK...so we almost have our itinerary nailed down but need 1 more piece of advice! :)

We will be spending 4 nights in Panama, 2 nights in the San Blas and have 3 nights to spend somewhere else. We have decided either to go to Bocas del Toro or to Boquete.

Bocas sounds fun because it would be fun to expore the islands and swim and find shells. The funkiness of it sounds intriguing and we like that it would be warm. Not sure about the party atmosphere though. Boquete sounds fun because we would like to try the zip line and hike! Plus it sounds beautiful there.

I wish we had time to do both, but we need to pick one. Which would you pick...and why?

Thanks!!!!

Roatan
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1. Re: Boquete or Bocas?

Boquete will be beautiful, but quite chilly especially at night. Not sure if you want or don't want the party atmosphere. You won't find one in Boquete at all.

Portland, Oregon
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2. Re: Boquete or Bocas?

We just went to San Blas then Boquete....when we were in San Blas some people came BACK to San Blas, having left Bocas early because they hated it...too much party/touristy atmosphere, not enough beautiful beach, pristine beauty. I needed a long-sleeved shirt at night in boquete, sometimes a light jacket......we were told by a tour guide that Cerro Punta is a nicer, smaller, less-touristy town 2 hours from Boquete, but the same distance from David as Boquete is, just on the other side of the huge volcano.

also you might want to consider ditching both and going to El Valle....2 hr bus trip from Panama City and has great birds/forest etc.

mn
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3. Re: Boquete or Bocas?

Thanks for your replies. My concern about Boca has been exactly what you mentioned...that it might be too much of a party place. Thanks for telling me about your experience. We have decided that we will skip Bocas.

So then it's Boquete or...El Valle? Hmmmmm....I like that El Valle is a bus ride away. It would save a LOT of money. And we could still do a canopy tour and hike there. But how does it compare...beauty-wise...and nature-wise? Is it pretty and are there good trails where we could see wildlife? Are there good places to stay?

Thanks again for all of your help!!!

Portland, Oregon
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4. Re: Boquete or Bocas?

We only stayed one night in El Valle because of poor planning :( We stayed in a nice B&B for $55 or $65 a night....Golden Tree Frog Inn or Golden Frog Inn--they have a website. It has a nice pool, a nice breakfast, and wine and cheese at night :) The town is very spread out, and there are only 5 taxis in the whole town according to one of the drivers. There were people using golf carts a lot, I don't know where they got them. I hear the zip line isn't as great in El Valle as it is in Boquete--we didn't go on either. I hear there's some little walks around the zip line tour that are bird-heavy, but we spent our one day taking just a little walk to the top of the hill above our b&b and going to the thermal springs and the handicrafts market.

In Boquete we did a 3 hour hike one day to a waterfall, but didn't find it all that different from the Gorge hikes we frequently go on right outside of Portland--but hey, the Gorge is wonderful, we're spoiled. I was disappointed to not see more birds or animals on the Boquete hike, maybe we didn't go early enough in the morning. We saw more in the Gamboa Rainforest that's right outside of Panama City (10 or 20 minutes cab ride)....we saw monkeys and iguanas and all manner of birds.

mn
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5. Re: Boquete or Bocas?

Thanks for the info on the B&B. I will look it up. Quick question on your Gamboa hike. We would like to hike there too, especially if there are monkeys! How did you set it up or who did you go through?

pennsylvania
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6. Re: Boquete or Bocas?

While you are at Gamboa try and reserve a tour of Barro Colorado Island. It is run by the Smithsonian tropical Research Institute. You can book this through the STRI's web site. Also take a boat ride to Monkey Island. Fishing for peacock bass on the lake is fun also.

3 days if you want hiking, zip line, jeep tour, rock climbing, rafting go to Boquete. Yes you will need a light weight rain jacket and light weight fleece or sweatshirt, but when the sun is out in late morning to mid day we were in shorts and t-shirts.(Feb weather)

If you want warm weather and beach with waves go to Playa La Barqueta and stay at a condo at Las Olas. You can kayak in the mangroves, go fishing, ride horses on the beach.

If you want warm weather, calm waters and islands go to Boca Brava and stay at Cala Mia. You can hike the island and see wildlife, kayak, snorkle, fish. We saw it for the first time last week, can't wait to go back for an overnight.

Or go to Pearl Islands,

Portland, Oregon
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7. Re: Boquete or Bocas?

My friend set up her hike in Gamboa thru a guy named Panama Pete....there is a website somewhere :) She actually kayaked with him one day thru Gatun Lake, right before the Mira Flores Locks....then after their kayaking hours she asked him if he would take her to Gamboa and wait for her while she hiked....he did so at no extra charge...the kayak adventure was around $80 for just her I believe. I replicated the Gamboa hike later with just a $20 taxi ride/wait. There is a nice hotel in Gamboa, you can ask them for directions to the trail.

Yes, in Boquete during the day we wore shorts/t-shirts. If you don't have San Blas accommodations yet I can get you the website of the island I stayed on...quite nice, super small, thatched huts and hammocks, nothing more :)

mn
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8. Re: Boquete or Bocas?

Thanks for all the help!

Rubisoho...When you hiked in Gamboa...where did you have the taxi driver drop you off? On Pipeline trail? And do they typically wait for you while you hike?

And First, the beach places you mentioned (Las Olas, Cala Mia) sound great but do you need a car to get to them? We were planning on only using taxis and the bus.

pennsylvania
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9. Re: Boquete or Bocas?

You can get out to Las Olas by bus or Taxi.

If you wanted to go to Cala Mia, I would email them to find out what bus to take to get to Boca Chica. Then you would take a boat out to Boca Brava/Cala Mia.

10. Re: Boquete or Bocas?

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